Saturday, April 7, 2012

In Someone's Shoes

In Her Shoes
In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

It's pretty easy to say to someone "I understand". We hear it all the time and it even becomes part of our standard conversation. We say it as if it lends credulity. Months after a loss, albeit job or personal familial loss, the empathetic friendship falls by the way. The "friend" tends to gloss over the facts of your loss. After all, they acknowledged empathy by their words.

We live in a self-absorbed society that systematically sugar coats the plight of others. If someone can't get a job, it's their fault, they aren't trying hard enough, they are doing the wrong things. If they are homeless there must be some other reason for it: laziness, mental illness, skills etc. If they continue to grieve over the loss of a parent or spouse beyond a year, they should get over it. The victims shoulder the responsibility.

As humans we cannot survive alone for lengthy periods of time. We are meant to interact with each other. Our lives and our wellbeing depend on how well we cooperate. In fact we buy goods and services from each other. Our greatest challenge is not merely our own personal survival but rather the survival of our neighbors too. We stand to benefit from our mutual success.

Henry Ford was one of America's great industrial geniuses. Even though profit was a significant motivator, he knew that it was in his best interest to pay good wages and produce an affordable product. The reason was quite simple, he could sell more. It was truly in his best interest.

In tough times such as the ones we are in, it's in our mutual best interest to check on each other. Our prosparity is contingent upon the well being of all not just a few. Our economy, in fact, is global. What happens in Europe and China impacts all. 

This writer has many acquaintences. Some of whom he has personally helped in the past obtain/retain jobs or helped finance business. A few have stood by but most have forgotten. Some say they are Christians and thump their chest and encourage the writer to join their flock. They insinuate that perhaps this writer is at odds with God.  This sounds odd to me since they also believe that God helps athletes win games but that baffles me since both sides knelt down before the game. 

Strangely enough the most compassion that this writer has received comes from non neighbors agnostic and atheist. The religious folks sent prayers while heathens sent their business. Baffling as it seems now the writer understands the religious concept of neighbor.

It's been nearly thirty-eight years, since I left my home in Connecticut and graduated from high school. There were many friends I left behind. Amazingly, while I had forgotten them, they never forgot me. For the past two years, they have reached out to me and encouraged me. Most are equally as strapped as me. Yet they have deep compassion and plenty of friendship equity to share. Yet my "friend" down the street in his million dollar house and a proud member of a mega church can't seem to find my phone number. The same holds true for the lawyer who had been down on his luck and wanted a loan from me. Rather than judge them, I accept the blame for mistaking their identities as friends. That's my fault.

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